A few years ago you could walk into just about any high tech company on the west coast and find teams, divisions, and release trains. Perhaps you would stumble over the occasional program or project if they weren’t agile. In all of these cases the terminology was and still is pretty consistent. Consistent is good, right?
Along comes Spotify and they introduce squads, guilds and tribes and everyone goes wild. What a bunch of rebels! It was hard not to walk into a company and have someone mention that they wanted to use the Spotify model. Some of this was admiration for the innovation exhibited by Spotify. And I suspect that some of what attracted people may have been the terminology.
I can help you out with that. I’ve got a thesaurus handy, so here are a few terms to spice up your otherwise boring organization descriptions:
association band bunch club coterie crew crowd crush faction folks gang group house insiders kinfolks mob moiety organization outfit ring sect set society sodality stock tribe
…and there is a lot more where that came from. I think it’s time that we started to use names that work for us in our environments. Scrum and SAFe have their stock labels for things. That’s a nice starting point, but there’s no reason that you can’t change them. Go ahead, call your team a Moiety (you know…a moiety: In organic chemistry, a moiety is a part of a molecule which is typically given a name as it can be found within other kinds of molecules as well). Yeah, I had to look that one up. Why would I do something silly like that? Because my moiety is unique. Our teams work on tools for chemists? Because we’re all former chem majors?
Look, to be honest, you really don’t need much of a reason to call your teams something different. Go ahead, grab a thesaurus and have a little fun. Don’t be afraid to express yourself. Make it yours.